October 14, 2019 at 11:30am
Kalli Farmer '20 / Video by Lillian Hester '21

Millikin student's "vision" is set on optometry

All Mackenzie Martin wanted to do as a young girl was pick up a book and read. When she was told that she needed to limit her time reading due to issues with her vision, she was traumatized.

A native of Paris, Ill., Martin went through a few years of constant visits to the optometrist office for vision therapy sessions.

"Being in vision therapy for two years, I was able to make connections with the optometrists and see how things worked," Martin said.

Because of her experience, Martin found her calling and set a goal of becoming an optometrist herself.

"The eyes are one of the most important organs of the body to me," said Martin. "It has definitely been my goal for a long time to help other people see the best they can."


With her career aspiration in mind, Martin was determined to find a school that was going to prepare her for future graduate studies. Millikin University's Pre-Professional program, along with its faculty, was the kind of education that Martin was seeking out.

"Millikin has a very strong pre-professional program," said Martin, a senior biology/pre-optometry major. "The faculty at Millikin are just brilliant. For example, Dr. Handler (Cynthia) and Dr. Zimmerman (Laura) have been really great…influencing me and making me a stronger scientist first before I go on to achieve my goal in becoming an optometrist."

Millikin's Pre-Professional program has prepared Martin in more ways than one. She was given instant connections to other pre-professional students on campus; was given the preparation she needed for graduate study entry exams; was taught how to perform in rigorous courses; and learned how to build a resume for graduate studies.

Mackenzie Martin Millikin

"I knew what I wanted to do, I was really confident in the beginning, but I wasn't necessarily sure if I had all the tools to do so," said Martin. "I was able to become really sure of myself and I've grown as an individual."

Following graduation in May 2020, Martin will attend Indiana University's School of Optometry. But before she leaves Millikin, she has a bit of advice for her fellow Millikin students.

"Do not be afraid of what you can do at Millikin," Martin advised. "Put your hands in everything you do because you can do it well. You can really make a difference."